Monday, February 28, 2011

Jenn's Review: Ghost Rider: Travels on the Healing Road

Ghost Rider: Travels on the Healing RoadSummary:  In less than a year, Neil Peart lost both his 19-year-old daughter, Selena, and his wife, Jackie. Faced with overwhelming sadness and isolated from the world in his home on the lake, Peart was left without direction. This memoir tells of the sense of loss and directionlessness that led him on a 55,000-mile journey by motorcycle across much of North America, down through Mexico to Belize, and back again. He had needed to get away, but had not really needed a destination. His travel adventures chronicle his personal odyssey and include stories of reuniting with friends and family, grieving, thinking, and reminiscing as he rode until he encountered the miracle that allowed him to find peace.

Review:  This is not my typical read, but something my husband asked me to read when we got engaged oh so many years ago.  I would be lying if I told you it was an easy read.  As a matter of fact it took me three attempts to get into it, not because it was poorly written but because I just couldn't stop crying.  I have a strong empathetic streak and it's the reason I don't read certain books, like this one, but my then-soon-to-be-husband really wanted me to read it and it's so seldom that he asks for anything, that I felt I must make a more valiant effort.  I was glad I did.

For anyone who doesn't know, Neil Peart is the drummer and lyricist of Rush, a band my husband adores.  If that still doesn't help, imagine a stereotypical rock band drummer and then imagine the exact opposite.  That's Neil Peart.  He's a quiet introverted man who avoids the limelight, which is how he can ride around the country virtually unrecognized.

Peart's story consists mostly of his journal entries on his motorcycle trip to "soothe his little baby soul" after a year of incredible loss and devastation.  This is Peart's second book the first is The Masked Rider: Cycling in West Africa, which I could never go back and read having read this one. (It is another story about his travels, but it's also before tragedy strikes his life, and I just couldn't bear to read it knowing what's coming in his life.)  He is beautifully articulate even in his grief, which is pervasive and all consuming.  His journey is quite literally the road to recovery.  It happens in small doses through miles of scenery and some treacherous gravel roads.

It's a story about finding ones way back from the depths of despair (I'm tearing up even as I type this; it affected me that deeply).  It's a story of survival.  It's a story of hope.  I highly recommend it, to anyone  but especially anyone who has lost someone.

Final Take:  5/5

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2 comments :

Margaret March 1, 2011 at 12:39 PM  

My husband is a huge Rush fan. He asked me to read this book a few years ago. You are right, it is a difficult book to read, but so worthwhile!

Jenn March 1, 2011 at 1:50 PM  

It actually helped easy me into Rush's music. :)

My husband told me that it was how he'd feel if he lost me, and that was the push I needed to continue reading.

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